If you were in Boston last week at the 2013 World Synchronized Skating Championships, you were fortunate to witness some of the best skating this sport has ever seen. If you couldn’t make it to the event, you can thank the magic of the Internet for providing access to the performances on video, below.
I make a point to attend the World Championships whenever they’re in North America, and while each time I leave feeling that our sport is headed in a great direction, this time I was truly blown away by the improvement I saw across the entire event since being in Colorado in 2010. Every single team has upped their game. The quality of skating from the top teams was particularly incredible, but there wasn’t a team in Boston that didn’t contribute something positive to the intense competitive atmosphere of the event, and didn’t impress me with some aspect of their skating. Thank you to every athlete, coach, manager, choreographer, trainer, and supporting cast member for working your butts off so the rest of us could watch such fabulous skating! (more…)
While the American Senior teams are competing at their National Championships to earn spots on the U.S. world team this weekend, some international heavy-hitters will be on the ice in Sweden and Croatia.
Sweden’s National Championships take place from March 3-4. With only 2 Senior teams, it’s a guarantee that both will be at Worlds in April. However, the pressure is still on both teams to perform at their best as they prepare to compete for World medals in their home country in just over a month. Team Surprise missed some calls at Spring Cup a few weeks ago, losing the free program to Russia’s Tartarstan (9th in the world in 2011), though still finishing first overall. Typically a medal contender at Worlds, eyes will be on Team Surprise’s performances this weekend to gauge their improvement. Additionally, Team Boomerang had their highest ever finish at Worlds last year (8th), and will surely have been working hard in an effort to challenge for a higher finish this year at home.
At the Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy taking place March 1-3, Paradise (RUS) and Team Berlin 1 (GER) are expected to lead the pack based on their competitive history, though there are also other seasoned international competitors in the mix. Paradise surprised many people when they beat defending World Champions, Rockettes (FIN), in the short program at SynchroFest International back in December. However, they finished 3rd behind Team Unique (FIN) and Marigold Ice Unity (FIN) at French Cup in early February. Team Berlin 1 has been a top 10 finisher at Worlds a number of times in the past, so their performance and scores will be watched closely by their competitors as well.
Live streaming is available for the Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy, for the price of $8.00 (USD) for both days of the event.
It doesn’t feel like nearly a year has passed since I was planning, packing, and praying that my luggage would greet me in Colorado Springs for the World Synchronized Skating Championships after a journey that was to involve an inexcusable number of stop-overs in various American cities (pro tip: don’t wait until the last minute to book flights through Expedia). Miracle of miracles, it did–it wouldn’t have been the least bit shocking had it not, however, given that each of the three prior Worlds I’d been to were marinated in their own special flavor of “this will be funny later” sauce. But those are stories for another time.
The 2011 edition of the WSSC kicks off next week in Helsinki, and should be an exciting one. Reportedly the event is close to sold out, which really isn’t surprising since Finland’s entries, Rockettes and Marigold Ice Unity, are the defending gold and silver medalists respectively. There will be a number of teams with their eyes on the podium, however:
2010 marked the first year Team Surprise (SWE) was shut out of the medals, ever, including World Challenge Cups (precursor to the official ISU WSSC).
An error in the short program kept Nexxice (CAN) off the podium in 2010, after they won gold in 2009, and bronze two years in a row before that.
The Haydenettes (USA) finally earned a medal in 2010 (bronze), after being perennial fourth-place bridesmaids more times than my normally encyclopedic synchro brain can remember. They’ll want another one.
Miami University is the only other American team to ever medal at Worlds (silver in 2007). They’re back on the World Team in 2011 after being beat out for USA 2 honours by the Crystallettes last year.
Oh, those Russians. Traditionally, the teams from Russia and Germany duke it out to see who can earn the distinction of being the 5th-best country at the competition, thereby earning 2 berths to the next year’s Worlds. Paradise (RUS) has been the only non-Swedish, Finnish, Canadian, or American team to challenge for a medal, when they placed 2nd in the short program at Worlds in 2007. Never count them out.
Les Suprêmes, Canada’s second entry, has been absent from Worlds since 2005. Though Nexxice beat them by a fair margin at Canadian Nationals, they are the only other team in the mix to have stood on the podium, earning bronze back in 2003.
Wikipedia has a handy summary of all of the podium results of past Worlds.
The competition kicks off with the short program next Friday, April 8 at 8:40 AM (MDT). The free skate will follow on Saturday, April 9 at 5:45 AM (ack!) MDT. I’ve yet to find any information about live streaming, but will post an update here if I do. In the meantime, the Worlds official website has some great team profiles, photos, and promotional videos worth checking out.
Happy skating to everyone at the competition, and happy internetting to the rest of us!